Silver Discusses Player Participation Policy, In-Season Tournament, More

The NBA’s new Player Participation Policy is designed to create the best possible product for the fans, commissioner Adam Silver told reporters, including Steve Aschburner of, at a press conference Wednesday.

The guidelines, which were approved on Wednesday by the Board of Governors, were pursued by “everyone in the league,” Silver said. That includes owners, management, coaches, the NBPA and some individual players. They’re focused on producing a better experience for paying customers at the arenas and more reliability for media rights holders.

“This is ultimately about the fans,” Silver said. “And that we’ve taken this (load management) too far. This is an acknowledgment that it has gotten away from us a bit.”

Silver has been working for years to overcome the problem of the league’s best players appearing in fewer and fewer games. Under the PPP, teams will be subject to hefty fines if they violate the policy by giving excess rest to their stars, who are defined as anyone who has made an All-Star or All-NBA team during the previous three seasons.

“That doesn’t mean we were turning the clock back, that players are expected to play through injuries or that players never need rest,” Silver said. “But there’s a statement of a principle in this league that, if you’re a healthy player, you’re going to play.”

There’s more from Silver’s press conference:

  • The commissioner acknowledged that the new in-season tournament, which will debut this fall, may take a while to resonate, Aschburner adds. Silver added the league is committed to a long-term approach with the event. “It’s a multi-season issue, to the extent we’re looking to create a new tradition,” he said. “… If we’re seeing early indications of success, we’re going to see a little ratcheted-up intensity.”
  • Silver repeated his distaste for trade demands like the ones issued this summer by Damian Lillard and James Harden, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Although the Trail Blazers and Sixers haven’t made much progress on moving their unhappy stars, Silver doesn’t believe the public declarations are good for the league. “In terms of trade demands, of course, don’t like them,” Silver said. “As a league, want players and teams to honor their contracts. And I’m watching both the situation in Portland and Philadelphia, and hope they get worked out to the satisfaction of everyone before the season starts. And I’m glad that things seem to have settled down somewhat, at least in terms of public discourse.”
  • Silver said the league won’t do anything to force the sale of the Trail Blazers, relays TV station KGW8. When Paul Allen died in 2018, his will stipulated that the parts of his estate, including the NBA team, must be sold. However, Silver complimented Paul’s sister, Jody Allen, for running the team in “a first-class manner.”
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